Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Feb 19:
Under the banner of All Odisha Jail Employees Association (AOJEA), around 1800 jail staff across the state observed a silent protest by wearing black badges on their body today while on duty in different jails in the state.
They are protesting the state government’s failure in fulfilling their demands for equalisation of grade pay with police personnel, an end to irrational transfer and deputation and fulfillment of vacant warder posts
The AOEJA, which had earlier threatened to go on an indefinite state-wide hunger strike protest on Saturday, has now postponed it to February 25.
Md. Tameemur Rehman, President of AOJEA, said all jail staff- warders, head warders and chief head warders – have joined the silent protest in their respective jails wearing black batches on their body without boycotting their duty hours.
“At a meeting this morning, the members of AOJEA decided to give the state government time till Monday to take a decision on our demands. If it fails to fulfill our demands, we will launch an indefinite hunger strike across the state from February 25,” Rehman said.
While the government increased the grade pay of police Constables, Havildar and Havildar Major by Rs 2000, Rs 2400 and Rs 2800 respectively on the basis of RACP Rule-2013, it ignored the legitimate claims of jail staff of equivalent ranks like Warders, Head Warders and Chief Head Warders, he pointed out.
“Jail warders and police personnel of the same rank used to draw equal salary. If the salaries of constables have been raised, why should the jail employees be left behind?” asked Rehman. The qualifications for both warders and policemen are the same and both undergo nine months’ training, he pointed out.